MOBILE, Alabama – Mobilians under the impression Airbus is the extent of the Port City’s aerospace reach might learn a thing or two Sept. 4 when NASA returns to town.
The national space agency will be accompanied by a contingent of prime contractors, all available to meet with small- and medium-sized companies interested in obtaining contracts.
The forum, hosted by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, is open to area and regional businesses and slated to last from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center.
“You’ll be able to do in one day, under one roof what could take a normal person – if they were lucky – months to accomplish,” said Danette Richards, the chamber’s director of small business development.
In addition to presentations, NASA agency representatives and prime contractors will take part in a trade show, offering attendees face time with potential customers and purchasing agents.
“There’s even significant value in peer-to-peer networking. A lot of partnerships and deals between attendees are made at these sessions as well,” adds Richards.
Specifically, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center will bring representatives from NASA Shared Services Center, Stennis Space Center, Michoud Assembly Facility and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Meanwhile, contractors including Northrop Grumman Corp., ATK Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Corp., Teledyne Brown Engineering Inc., Boeing Co. and others will be on hand to scout for potential small- and mid-sized partners on federal contracts.
Fairhope native Todd May, manager of NASA’s Space Launch System program, is among the experts slated to address the business-to-business forum. Throughout a decade spanning two decades, May has not only overseen the national space agency’s rocket building program, but he also managed the robotic lunar program, including the successful 2009 launch of two lunar probes.
And while Airbus’ recent groundbreaking on a $600 million aircraft assembly plant at Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex might have been the latest event to attract the agency’s attention, chamber spokeswoman Susan Rak-Blanchard said the overall strength of the region’s aerospace sector is what inspired the meet-and-greet format.
NASA’s last visit to Mobile was eight years ago for a brief meeting with a small group of potential suppliers organized by then Rep. Jo Bonner and the chamber, Rak-Blanchard said.
Registration is $75 and includes lunch and a post-conference reception sponsored by Boeing Co. For more information or to attend, call (251) 431-8607.